Qatari Nasser-Al Attiyah (Toyota) closes the first week of competition in the Dakar with more advantage in the leadership of the general car, with a difference of 50:19 compared to the Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota), amid the doubts of whether or not the Dakar will be canceled as there is a possibility that he has suffered a terrorist attack.
The French government assured that it would have preferred to cancel the Dakar, since it has the suspicion that the explosion that occurred in Saudi Arabia on December 30 and that affected Philippe Boutron's vehicle, who came out of a coma this Wednesday, January 6 and has serious leg injuries, could have been a terrorist act.
"You have to be very alert. We think it might have been worth giving up this sporting career. The organizers decided to keep it and in this case we have to be prudent, "French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on BFM TV.
The Dakar director, David Castera, responded to these statements claiming that "Not today" the cancellation is being considered of the quote "because the investigation continues."
Argentine Terranova surprises and Al-Attiyah is more leader
On the sporting level, the Argentine Orlando Terranova and his co-driver, the Spanish Daniel Oliveras Carreras (Bahrain Raid Xtreme), surprised in the sixth stage, disputed in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), and they prevailed in the car category ahead of the big favorites.
They beat Swedish Mattias Ekström (Audi) by one minute and six seconds and Saudi Yazeed Al Rajhi by 1:49 (Overdrive Toyota), who is resisting the stage victory at home in this edition of the Dakar, but who achieved a result that is worth to place second overall, 50:19 behind Al-Attiyah.
Terranova also beat his other teammate, the Spanish Nani Roma. ANDhe winner in motorcycles in 2004 and in cars in 2014 completely recovered from physical problems and of confidence after overturning in the fourth stage and finished this Friday in fifth position.
One of lime and one of sand for the BRX team. You may celebrate Newfoundland's stage win, but the fight to defeat Al-Attiyah and win the crown is harder than ever In this 44th edition of the Dakar just before the rest day, as the Frenchman Sebastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) fell to third place overall and is 50:25 behind.
Sainz still has shock absorber problems
First at 41 kilometers, but from then on Carlos Sainz (Audi) again suffered problems in one of the shock absorbers in his innovative hybrid vehicle that they made him lose until 41:23 with respect to Newfoundland. After winning the fourth stage, the three-time Dakar champion (2010, 2018, 2020) accumulated two consecutive days without being able to fight for the first places of the special.
The one who did manage to recover this Friday was her compatriot Laia Sanz (Mini X-Raid). Second day in which the organization does not make him leave the queue of the caravan and did a solid special ending at 3:42 pm from the winner of the day. Good performance to continue gaining experience in his debut in the car category after 11 consecutive participations, and finished, on a motorcycle.
Sanders wins a reduced special on motorcycles
Australian Daniel Sanders (Gas Gas) won a sixth stage that saw its special stage reduced to 101 kilometers due to "the poor condition of the track", leading by 2:26 at that point to his teammate, the British Sam Sunderland, who extends his lead in the lead.
Face the rest day with 2 minutes and 39 seconds ahead of Austrian Matthias Walkner (KTM), who finished third in the day this Friday.
One day that began with the decision of Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), organizer of the Dakar, to neutralize the stages of the motorcycles and quads at 101 kilometers of special stage (special) due to the "bad condition of the track".
"The poor condition of the track due to the passage of cars and trucks yesterday, added to the heavy rains in recent days, they have made the track impassable "the organization reported in a statement.
It was again a bad day for the current champion on two wheels, Argentine Kevin Benavides (KTM), dropping 5:31 to Sanders after navigation problems.
For its part, into Spanish Joan Barreda (Honda) was good for the neutralization, as he came out to the stage "with a lot of pain" after a hard fall on Thursday that hurt his shoulder. He finished 14th at 5:27 behind the winner of the stage.
Just ahead of him was the best Spaniard in the motorcycle general classification. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) signed a thirteenth place which places him sixth 18 minutes and 22 seconds behind the leader Sunderland.
Cristina Gutiérrez, second in light prototypes
Spain's Cristina Gutiérrez (Red Bull Off-Road Team USA) finished the sixth stage of the Dakar without problems in his vehicle and in second position, 11 minutes and 21 seconds behind the winner in light vehicles, the American Seth Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA).
Sixth win for Quintero, who continues to pursue surpassing the Dakar record of nine, his great goal after mechanical problems in the second stage that made him lose all chances to fight for victory in the category.
For his part, the Chilean Francisco 'Chaleco' López (EKS-South Racing) He goes to the rest day, extending his advantage in the general lead over his teammate, the Swede Sebastian Eriksson, until 23:09, which puts him closer to repeating the final victory in light prototypes.
Giroud takes advantage of the reduced special on quads
As with motorcycles, the quads had their special reduced to 101 kilometers, a circumstance that the Frenchman Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha) took advantage of to increase their advantage in the general, although the stage victory eluded them by nine seconds over Russian Aleksandr Maksimov (CHYR Mari), who added his second win.
The Argentine-American Pablo Copetti (Yamaha) finished fifth in the special and he lost 59 seconds in the general classification compared to Giroud, placing himself at 4:52 to face the second and final week of competition on the Dakar.
Insufficient victory of Karginov in trucks
The Russian Andrey Karginov has crossed the final goal with the best time of the day. The Russian, undisputed leader of the 2020 edition, tries by all means to cut the hour and a half that was left after getting stuck in the mud during stage four.
But, unfortunately, It has only scratched 9 seconds to Dmitry Sotnikov, current leader of the general, and 45 to Eduard Nikolaev. The Kamaz riders finish the first stage of the 44th edition of the Dakar, having shared all the stage victories.
Rest day and unfamiliar territory
The Dakar will enter unknown territory after the rest day of this Saturday, January 8. The day of exploration will begin with about 100 kilometers of dunes that will seem to have no end. After this extreme exercise of overcoming dunes, the driving will become less complex, but the labyrinth of tracks could test the nerves of drivers and co-drivers.